FIN 4610 Corporate Governance Assignment (20 points)
Your assignment is to research the corporate governance of a publicly traded firm that is headquartered in the United States. There are many aspects of corporate governance, but you should follow the advice of Arthur Levitt, which means you will be doing the analysis from the perspective of a potential investor. All information for the project can be obtained from your firm’s proxy statement. In addition to illustrating corporate governance practiced by corporations, this assignment will familiarize you with proxy statements, the SEC website, and EDGAR.
1. Choose a publicly traded U.S. firm. Only 1 student is allowed to research each firm. A sign-up sheet will be passed around in class. Do not start your research until you have signed up in class.
2. Go to www.sec.gov. Click on “More Search Options” in the top right corner. Enter your company’s name (it is often easier to enter the ticker symbol rather than the company name) and click “find companies.” Find the most recent DEF 14A form (which is the name of the proxy statement) and click on “documents”. Click on the link under “Document” which has a description of “DEFINITIVE PROXY STATEMENT” or contains “DEF 14A”.
3. Address each of the 9 items found on Levitt’s “Governance Checklist” (board independence, board over commitment, board size, board compensation, board perks, succession planning, executive pay, annual board elections, and poison pills). State how your firm deals with each issue and if this is a positive or negative according to Arthur Levitt (sometimes you will only be able to discuss how your firm compares to the average firm). Description of the firm’s governance should be in your own words. Copying and pasting from the proxy statement is not acceptable.
4. Your write-up should include your company name and brief description of the company’s business (2-3 sentences is fine) and 9 sections corresponding to each of the governance checklist. Give each section a heading.